Whiz Kid among cuts

Onterrio Smith runs with the ball during Boombers' training camp Wednesday, May 17, 2006....

Onterrio Smith runs with the ball during Boombers' training camp Wednesday, May 17, 2006. (SUN/Marcel Cretain)

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

Onterrio Smith is looking for work again.

That was the biggest story coming out of Maroons Road yesterday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced their 46-man roster in preparation for Friday's CFL opener against the Montreal Alouettes.

The axe came down on 22 players yesterday, most notably Smith, the much ballyhooed former NFLer who led the Minnesota Vikings in rushing just two years ago before drug suspensions derailed his career.

Smith came to camp roughly 20 pounds overweight, sat out the pre-season opener with a foot injury and then managed just seven yards on two carries and fumbled in his lone game action.

"We just couldn't find a way to get him on the roster," said Blue Bombers general manager Brendan Taman. "Hurting his foot really set him back, he lost two weeks. I would have done it all over again. When you get an NFL-calibre guy to come up here, you've got to take a look at it. It just didn't work out."

Expendable

Smith, who was expendable after the emergence of Henri Childs, was unavailable for comment but Taman wouldn't rule out another CFL team taking a chance on him.

Childs will undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the knee injury he suffered in Thursday's 30-15 loss to Montreal.

Veteran kicker Troy Westwood was a bit surprised when informed that both Kirk Yliniemi and Brian Claybourn had been released yesterday but had no trouble keeping things in perspective.

"That was my goal coming into camp so now I need to perform at a high level week in and week out," said Westwood, when asked about the possibility of holding both jobs. "It's been an intense three weeks and I've punted as poorly as I could punt in the two exhibition games. I expect to punt much better from here on out.

"I don't feel good or bad as each week comes by. I have very high expectations for myself for this year and I'm not going to get excited just because I made one kick or had a good game or something like that. It's going to be an ongoing situation."

Both Taman and head coach Doug Berry said it was not 100% sure that Westwood would handle both punting and kicking duties in Week 1.

In the battle of the quarterbacks, Brad Banks outlasted returnee Russ Michna for the final job on the depth chart behind Mike Quinn and starter Kevin Glenn.

Defensive lineman Dante Booker had a strong camp, but was let go since Ron Warner won the starting job alongside Doug Brown.

In the secondary, Robert Bean, Cedric Dickerson, Robert Grant, Sidney Haugabrook and Jazzmen Williams were also cut, leaving the door open for Gabriel Fulbright to push for a job.

"I was a little nervous about whether I would make the final cut, I had a little anxiety," said Fulbright. "There was pressure on me because I didn't have anywhere else to go. Now I just feel more comfortable but the pressure is not over yet because we've got many games to play."

At safety and linebacker, it looks like Ron Ockimey and Donnavan Carter will start for the Bombers, though who plays what position remains unclear.

Other part-time Blue Bombers from last season to receive their walking papers were receiver Chad Rempel, offensive lineman Jermese Jones, safety John Sullivan and offensive lineman Marc Parenteau.

Among those asked to remain on the practice roster were defensive lineman Stevie Baggs, Bean, Sullivan, Claybourn, Parenteau and Jones.


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